The Charleston Gazette | Smith could be in line for more carries

Perhaps a week of rest and recovery will change things, but there seems at least a chance that there could be a new order to West Virginia’s running back rotation this week.

Dreamius Smith is on a bit of a tear.

“He had his best game last week [at Texas],’’ Dana Holgorsen said of the 6-foot, 217-pound senior. “Against TCU, I can’t tell you he had his best game. It wasn’t. He got one run on them, but he didn’t play his best game. Last week, he played his best game.’’

In West Virginia’s 33-16 loss at Texas, Smith had 10 carries for 100 yards, including a 62-yard run. Most of his 70 yards a week earlier against TCU came on a 50-yard run. He also had 72 yards at Oklahoma State, including a 40-yard touchdown, and he had 60 the week before that against Baylor.

That’s 302 yards in four games for a running back who had just 109 in the first six. For much of those first six games, Smith was fourth and sometimes fifth in the rotation, always behind Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood and usually in the late-game mix with Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.

via The Charleston Gazette | Smith could be in line for more carries.

The Charleston Gazette | Defense, rebounding carry WVU past Lafayette

Actually, the Mountaineers played far better offensively Sunday against Lafayette than they had two days earlier against Monmouth. And the final score attests to that. After having to rally from 14 down to beat Monmouth by 10 points, West Virginia never trailed, led by 14 in the first half and by 27 in the second, and routed Lafayette, 83-56.

But it was also another of those physical, grind-it-out games dominated by defense and rebounding. That the Mountaineers managed to interrupt with occasional spurts of offense was a bonus that, if West Virginia gets more of it, would be more than welcome.

“I think we’re better than what we were today, actually,’’ Huggins said after his team improved to 2-0 in front of a crowd of 6,089 at the Coliseum. “I think we shoot it better than what we shot today.’’

That would be good, of course, considering that the Mountaineers shot just 38.3 percent. Then again, considering that West Virginia suffered through yet another prolonged dry spell in this one — 14 consecutive missed shots in the first half — it wasn’t as bad as the numbers might indicate. Subtract that five-minute stretch and WVU shot a decent 46.3 percent.

“Once Jevon [Carter] and Daxter [Miles] get comfortable and stop wondering whether it’s a good shot, they’ll make shots for us,’’ Huggins said. “Juwan [Staten] was comfortable carrying us today. Somebody will make some.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | Defense, rebounding carry WVU past Lafayette.

WVU Rolls on Sunday – WVU Athletics

Today’s 27-point victory is somewhat surprising considering how poorly the Mountaineers played on Friday night against Monmouth and how well the Leopards played against Robert Morris, beating the Colonials by 27 points in Moon Township on Friday night.

West Virginia (2-0) didn’t shoot the ball particularly well again today, making 38.1 percent overall, but the Mountaineers dominated the glass (50-31), pressured Lafayette all afternoon and put up 35 more shots than the Leopards.

“We made some plays today that we didn’t make in the first game, obviously, or really the exhibition game,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We ran some guys down from behind. We got our hands on some balls and we’ve got to do that. We only shoot 38 percent and we’re missing so many easy shots around the goal.”

via WVU Rolls on Sunday – WVU Athletics.

No. 1 Rifle Improves to 6-0 – WVU Athletics

The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team defeated Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) foe No. 12 Army, 4717-4644, today, at the Tronsrue Marksmanship Center, in West Point, N.Y.

The Mountaineers’ aggregate score is their second highest this season and just three shots short of the school and NCAA record.

The five-time reigning GARC champion and last year’s regular-season title-holder, WVU (6-0, 4-0 GARC) outshot the Black Knights in smallbore, 2335-2311, and air rifle, 2382-2333. The Mountaineers’ air rifle score ties a school and NCAA record. The record score was last shot in the 2013-14 season against GARC foe Kentucky on Feb. 8 at the WVU Rifle Range.  

“It's obviously great for the team to be shooting such impressive scores,” said coach Jon Hammond. “I'm very satisfied with how the team is performing, but we have to stay focused on each week – each match – and continually try to get better.”

via No. 1 Rifle Improves to 6-0 – WVU Athletics.

Five Set to Join Gymnastics Team – WVU Athletics

West Virginia University gymnastics coach Jason Butts announced today that Kirah Koshinski, Sarah Moore, Jaquie Tun and Tiara Wright have signed National Letters of Intent to compete at WVU next fall. Additionally, Carly Galpin will join the Mountaineers as an invited walk-on.

“We believe this class is going to have a very big impact on the WVU gymnastics program,” said Butts. “They’re each so versatile. Each of these gymnasts can compete under pressure, as evidenced by their national championship experience. I believe all five gymnasts could compete in every event next year.

“This class was very highly recruited – the teams that competed at the 2014 NCAA National Championships would be thrilled to have any one of these student-athletes walk through their door. We’re very happy they all chose to be Mountaineers.”

via Five Set to Join Gymnastics Team – WVU Athletics.

GAME RECAP: WVU Cruises to 83-56 Win Over Lafayette

After scoring only two points against Monmouth on Friday, Holton bounced back in a big way, going for 18 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Williams also bounced back after going 3-for-14 from the field on Friday. Williams tallied 15 points to go with 11 rebounds in Sunday's victory.

Junior College transfer guard Jaysean Paige was the key to the first half, igniting the Mountaineers to a 15-point halftime lead. Paige tallied 14 points in the first half, including a trio of three-pointers. He ended the game with 16 points, five rebounds and two steals.

Senior point guard Juwan Staten had a quiet 10 points on Sunday, but spent more time distributing the ball to his teammates. Staten ended the game with eight assists.

“We want to get a lot more shots than what our opponent does,” WVU Head Coach Bob Huggins said during his postgame press conference. “Today, we did it in the ways that you're supposed to do it. They had 20 turnovers and we had six. We outrebounded them by 19. That's what you're supposed to do.”

via GAME RECAP: WVU Cruises to 83-56 Win Over Lafayette – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Holton, Williams lead West Virginia over Lafayette

Jonathan Holton and Devin Williams finished with double-doubles to lift West Virginia over Lafayette 83-56 on Sunday afternoon.

Holton led West Virginia (2-0) with 18 points and 15 rebounds—a nice bounce-back after a 1-of-9 effort in Friday’s season opener against Monmouth.

“I just had to get back to the feeling of the game,” Holton said. “I felt more comfortable out there. (Monmouth) was really my first game back after (sitting out) last year.”

via WV MetroNews – Holton, Williams lead West Virginia over Lafayette.

The Charleston Gazette | K-State presents another strong defense for WVU

Indeed, when West Virginia (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) hosts No. 13 Kansas State (7-2, 5-1) Thursday at Mountaineer Field (7 p.m., Fox Sports 1), it will face another team that plays as well defensively as anyone can in the offensive-minded Big 12. The Wildcats are 31st in total defense and, perhaps more significantly, No. 23 in rushing defense.

That’s where West Virginia’s issues really rest. The Mountaineers had become a team that, midway through the season, was running the ball well because opponents were playing light in the box in order to defend the pass. But that running game has been hot and cold of late and it’s affected the overall offensive production.

“Everything we do starts with the run game. I thought we did a great job with that against TCU. I thought it was pretty average against Texas,’’ Holgorsen said. “When we have favorable numbers [in the box] to be able to run the ball, we need to be able to run the ball.

“We ended up having some yards [200 rushing at Texas] because Dreamius [Smith] got loose on a couple things there later in the game. But yards per play prior to that was not a winning performance.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | K-State presents another strong defense for WVU.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU needs rally to win

Leave it to Juwan Staten to find the silver lining surrounding even the darkest of clouds.

He and his West Virginia teammates nearly did the unthinkable Friday night, falling behind lightly regarded Monmouth by 14 points in the second half. That they eventually got their collective act together and won 64-54 — avoiding the first home-opening loss since 2004 — seemed almost beside the point after the Mountaineers were so awful that perhaps they deserved to lose.

Yet there was Staten, WVU’s preseason Big 12 player of the year, actually upbeat in the moments afterward.

“Tonight was great for us,’’ Staten said almost illogically before explaining himself. “It was harder than it was supposed to be, and we needed that.’’

Well, needed or not, it’s exactly what the Mountaineers got. At one point they missed a staggering 30 of 32 shots. They finished the game shooting 26.1 percent overall and 20.7 from 3-point range. Their best inside player, sophomore Devin Williams, missed his first 11 shots and had five turnovers.

“We’re not the greatest shooting team in the world,’’ coach Bob Huggins would say later. “But we’re better than that.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU needs rally to win.

Holmes Scores 23 in No. 17 WVU’s Win Over EKU – WVU Athletics

Senior Bria Holmes’ game-leading 23 points carried the No. 17-ranked West Virginia women’s basketball team past Eastern Kentucky, 67-42, on Saturday evening in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT at the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia (1-0) used a 12-point run to close out the first half and took a commanding 30-19 halftime lead. The Mountaineers added four more points to the run in the second half before EKU came firing back.

The Colonels (0-1) cut the deficit to 11 midway through the second half, but were unable to overcome the stingy play from WVU. West Virginia is now 13-1 in season openers under head coach Mike Carey.

With the victory, the Mountaineers will face former Big East foe Seton Hall in the second round on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. inside the Coliseum. The Pirates (1-0) knocked off Rider, 86-64, on Friday afternoon in East Orange, New Jersey.

via Holmes Scores 23 in No. 17 WVU's Win Over EKU – WVU Athletics.

No. 7 Women’s Soccer Eliminated – WVU Athletics

Though the No. 7-ranked Mountaineers pushed their unbeaten streak to a program-record 19 matches, a 0-0 draw was not enough, as the third-seeded West Virginia University women’s soccer team was eliminated from the 2014 NCAA Tournament by Georgetown tonight at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The Hoyas (11-4-6, 6-1-2) advance to the second round thanks to a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks.

“It’s hard because this one moment shouldn’t define everything this team accomplished,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “It’s just hard that it came to this (PKs) this early (in the tournament). I give Georgetown a lot of credit for the way they played. We didn’t finish our opportunities tonight. Unfortunately, it came down to the last game, and we didn’t play our best.”

via No. 7 Women's Soccer Eliminated – WVU Athletics.

Volleyball Sweeps Texas Tech – WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University volleyball team ended a five-match losing streak with a 3-0 win over Big 12 foe Texas Tech in set scores of 30-28, 25-23 and 25-20 on Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.

It marked the first win for the Mountaineers (14-13, 4-9) since October 22 when they defeated Baylor, 3-1. The victory was also the first Big 12 sweep of the season for WVU and was the Mountaineers’ first sweep of a Big 12 team since November 16, 2013 when they beat TCU, 3-0. West Virginia moves to 4-4 all-time against Texas Tech (15-10, 3-10) and is 4-2 against the Red Raiders in league action.

“I thought this was a great team win,” said WVU coach Jill Kramer. “We did some things a little bit differently with the lineup and I like the way it worked for us. We didn’t play quite as clean as I think we would have liked but the big thing was we stayed the course when it got tight. After being up 2-0, we came out really strong and that was something we’ve really struggle with. I was happy we changed our energy going onto the court for the third set and made things happen.”

via Volleyball Sweeps Texas Tech – WVU Athletics.

No. 1 Rifle Wins Third GARC Contest – WVU Athletics

The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team defeated Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) foe No. 16 Ole Miss, 4699-4568, today, at the Tronsrue Marksmanship Center, in West Point, N.Y.

WVU (5-0, 3-0 GARC) won both disciplines, outshooting the Rebels (0-3, 0-2 GARC) in smallbore, 2328-2238, and air rifle, 2371-2330.

“There were definitely some who struggled today,” said coach Jon Hammond. “We ended with a solid team score. The range conditions with different lighting made it challenging, but they all fought hard throughout.”

Freshman Elizabeth Gratz placed first in smallbore with a career-high 584 (194 kneeling, 200 prone, 190 standing) mark. Her 200 prone score matched a school record, last shot by Jean-Pierre Lucas on Nov. 8 against Memphis.

“Elizabeth has worked really hard in practice and is learning a lot about herself and how to perform,” Hammond explained. “Her matches have been great, and to make progress each one is really impressive.”

via No. 1 Rifle Wins Third GARC Contest – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: WVU Men’s Basketball Postgame Interviews

Watch full video interviews with WVU Men's Basketball Coach Bob Huggins and his players following their win over Monmouth.

via WATCH: WVU Men's Basketball Postgame Interviews – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Late comeback saves Mountaineers in season opener

Thanks to a 49-33 rebounding gap, West Virginia held a 21-2 edge in second-chance points. That also contributed to Monmouth being whistled for 21 fouls to the home team’s 17.

The Hawks three big men—Brice Kofane (eight points and 11 rebounds), Chris Brady and Zac Tillman—fouled out. Deon Jones (14 points) and Andrew Nicholas (10 points) were hampered by four fouls.

“I think it hurt us when our three big guys fouled out, I think that was the key to the game,” said Rice. “I thought we dealt with the first wave, I thought we dealt with the second wave, I thought we dealt with the third and the fourth. And then they got to us a little bit. The game got very, very physical.”

via WV MetroNews – Late comeback saves Mountaineers in season opener.

Charleston Daily Mail | Mike Casazza: WVU headed in the right direction

True story: Two weeks ago, this space was going to ask a question about West Virginia’s football team, one that was 6-2 at the time and among the favorites to win the Big 12.

The Mountaineers were 4-1 in the conference and had home games coming up against TCU and Kansas State, both contenders in their own right. True, WVU had that road trip to Texas in the middle, but with the way things were going, it seemed what happened at Mountaineer Field and not in central Texas would go a long way toward solving the Big 12.

This seemed sudden, if not celebratory, so the question had to be asked: Is WVU any good?

Don’t misunderstand the curiosity. WVU is a better football team than it was a year ago. The offense is competent, the defense is organized, the roster and the coaching staff have evolved and the entire team is markedly more competitive. In short, the Mountaineers deserved six wins.

But there’s always a but, and there were quite a few worth exploring. Remember, this is a team that needed a frantic finish against an ordinary Maryland team and then looked everything like another 4-8 flop trailing dreadful Texas Tech by 14 points in the middle of the fourth quarter.

There’s no ignoring that, much like there’s no denying that what made the Mountaineers such a curious case was how they were capable of those games but also of handling Baylor. That was the sort of dynamic that begged the question.

via Charleston Daily Mail | Mike Casazza: WVU headed in the right direction.

The Charleston Gazette | Ahmad jewel of Huggins’ latest recruiting class

The Mountaineers have two home games this weekend — Friday night against Monmouth and Sunday against Lafayette — before facing their first significant test in the Puerto Rico Shootout.

That tournament begins a week from today in San Juan, when the Mountaineers play George Mason and then either Boston College or New Mexico. Among potential third-day opponents are defending national champion Connecticut and Dayton.

Why is West Virginia in the Puerto Rico tournament this year? Well, largely because of Browne, Huggins said. The senior guard is from there.

“We actually changed the event,’’ Huggins said. “We were supposed to go next year, and we changed the event to get Gary back there for his senior year. He’s talked about it quite a bit. He’s excited to go back.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | Ahmad jewel of Huggins’ latest recruiting class.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: Short weeks uncommon in Big 12 schedule

Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while lamenting that all of the good stuff is gone from the Halloween bags in my house. Don’t understand how that happened:

As West Virginia’s football team goes through a slightly-abbreviated off week — thanks to the Thursday game with Kansas State in a week the players have to get back to work Saturday instead of Sunday and then won’t get Monday off — it brings to mind another of the differences between the Big East and the Big 12.

Big 12 teams play the occasional Thursday night game — there are four this season — but those are anomalies. Remember the Big East days when it was almost as likely a team would play on Thursday or Friday (or even Sunday or Wednesday) as on Saturday?

The Big East needed to do that for exposure. The Big 12 doesn’t. That’s the simplest explanation for the difference. It’s the same reason MAC teams are now playing on Tuesday nights — if you will televise us, we will be there, any time you want.

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: Short weeks uncommon in Big 12 schedule.

Huggins Announces Two Signings – WVU Athletics

Bolden, a 6-foot-0, 170-pound guard from Covington, Kentucky, currently attends Holmes High, playing for coach Mike Listerman.

As a junior last season, Bolden averaged 20.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game while leading his team to the finals of the Ninth Region tournament, falling to eventual state champion Covington Catholic. He shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent at the free throw line.

Bolden was one of three juniors to make the Louisville Courier-Journal’s All-State First Team and one of two sophomores to make the first team in 2013. He was named to the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Boys All-State Basketball First Team as a junior and sophomore. Bolden is a two-time selection to the Kentucky All-State Basketball Team.

via Huggins Announces Two Signings – WVU Athletics.

Volleyball Falls to No. 5 Texas – WVU Athletics

Despite posting its best hitting percentage since late October, the West Virginia University volleyball team couldn’t overcome a blazing Texas offense and fell to the No.5-ranked Longhorns, 3-0, in Big 12 action at Gregory Gym in Austin on Wednesday.

The Mountaineers (13-13, 3-9) hit for a .247 clip, their best attacking percentage since hitting .263 against No. 22 Kansas State on October 25. The Longhorns (19-1, 11-1) finished with a .512 hitting percentage, recording 52 kills in the process. WVU previously took then-No. 2 Texas to five sets at the WVU Coliseum on September 24.

“We worked a lot on the game plan about how we wanted to attack them offensively, and I thought we did a good job with that,” said WVU coach Jill Kramer. “Our attackers did a pretty good job of tooling the block and moving the ball around. They knew where to go with off-speed shots and when to swing and when not to swing.”

via Volleyball Falls to No. 5 Texas – WVU Athletics.